13 North Koreans seek asylum in South
SEOUL • Thirteen North Koreans who worked in a restaurant run by the isolated state in another country are seeking political asylum in South Korea, the South said yesterday, describing the defections as unprecedented.
The workers, 12 women and a man who managed the restaurant, arrived on Thursday in the South, which admitted them on humanitarian grounds.
Seoul declined to identify the country where the restaurant was located, or which country the group was in before arriving in the South, citing potential impact on diplomatic ties.
Four activists jailed in China
HONG KONG • A court in southern China yesterday jailed four activists who had publicly supported Hong Kong's pro-democracy Occupy Central movement and who had criticised the Chinese Communist Party on social media, a lawyer said.
Two of them, Xie Wenfei and Wang Mo, were sentenced to 41/2 years' jail by the intermediate people's court in the city of Guangzhou after having been found guilty of "inciting subversion of state power".
KL approves $520m bailout for Proton
KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's government has approved a bailout package of RM1.5 billion (S$520 million) to help struggling national car maker Proton pay its debts, amid poor sales and heavy losses.
The monetary boost comes with conditions that the company draw up comprehensive plans for a turnaround in its dismal performance, according to reports.
Proton was formed in 1983 by then Premier Mahathir Mohamad as part of an ambitious national industrialisation plan, but it has suffered from a reputation for unimaginative models and poor quality.
Dr Mahathir resigned as chairman of Proton last month.
India to auction diamond mine
NEW DELHI • India plans to hold its first auction for a diamond mine in a little over a month, the country's top mines official said yesterday, as part of New Delhi's efforts to boost the local output of minerals and cut expensive imports.
The central state of Madhya Pradesh will soon float tenders for the auction of the Hatupur block which is likely to be completed in about forty days, said mines secretary Balvinder Kumar.
India began auctioning mines such as coal, iron ore and bauxite after a raft of legal battles over illegal allocation of resources.